Time for a spring-clean
“It’s either me or the house. We can’t both look good.” This was one of my mother’s favourite fridge magnets and, although she kept a clean house, she could never be accused of being a slave to housework, a trait which I have definitely inherited!! With spring just around the corner, however, I’m feeling naturally inclined to do a spot of spring-cleaning. It gives a feeling of starting a new slate. I find that tidying stuff or clearing out bits to the charity shop etc helps to give a structure to my surroundings. It also provides more space not only for a freer flow of energy (think Feng Shui) but also, if I so choose, to place new things.
It’s not, however, just about my outside environment. My cells and I feel the need to declutter physically, mentally and emotionally too.
According to TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine) we are entering the WOOD phase of the year, which allows us to visualise our year ahead, organise ourselves and start sowing the seeds of new projects and ventures.
Lots of ideas have been percolating in my head over the winter, but as yet have not taken form. Decluttering my immediate environment amazingly helps to declutter my head too and give me much needed clarity. I feel the urge to start putting creative ideas into action. Having cleared space in various areas of the house, I now have the space in which to put the books that are relevant to my new projects. There is also room to spread out and create. All very Wood element traits: visualising, organising and sowing (or in my case sewing!!)
One of the organs associated with the Wood element is the liver, our big detox plant, which increasingly feels the burden of our western lifestyles: overindulgence in stimulants and alcohol; poor sleep; chemicals (in our water, air, food and household / beauty products); as well as stored up emotional stress. Not too surprisingly, spring is traditionally a time when a lot of people do a liver detox.
It’s not just the liver, however, that feels the need for a clear-out. Every cell in our body looks on spring as a good opportunity to spring-clean too. They all pick up on Nature’s emerging new energy and their natural inclination is to throw off the debris of the winter. Just visualise your 50 trillion cells (or thereabouts) all waking up to the spring energy and getting busy throwing out their toxins!! The problem is that it takes a fair bit of work (and a circuitous journey) for toxins to leave a cell and get completely escorted out of the body. If we ignore our cells and continue as normal, perhaps eating heavy meals, not exercising etc, the extra toxins eliminated by the cells can start causing “traffic jams” in our body, manifesting as unwanted symptoms, such as headaches. It’s good therefore if we can give our cells a helping hand.
Tips on how to enjoy more vitality
As always, WATER features top of the list. Water facilitates the free flow of toxins throughout the body. If you aren’t drinking enough, there is a tendency towards “stuckness” and more “traffic jams”. Get 4 pints of water in each day (spread throughout the day, and not all in one sitting)
EAT CLEANER and LIGHTER. Try to wean off comfort foods, especially those stodgy puddings. Have fruit instead. Try herbal teas instead of normal tea / coffee, at least for some of the day, and go easy on the alcohol. Introduce more vegetables and more veggie meals into your weekly menu.
GO GREEN. Green is the colour associated with the Wood Element. Now is a good time (if you aren’t already doing so) to introduce more greens into your diet. Think dark green leafy side salads, green smoothies and juices (see next point) as well as lightly steamed spring greens.
GREEN JUICES. Spring is a great time to dust down your juicer and get some nutrient-dense shots in. Here are just a few tips.
- The best juicer is the one that you actually use. Having a top range model that looks nice or sits neatly in the cupboard doesn’t do you any good. Osmosis by proximity is not a viable way of taking in nutrients!!
- Green juices are a mix of vegetable and fruit juices. All-fruit in a juice can wobble your blood sugar. All-green-veg in a juice can guarantee you spitting it out in disgust, especially if you aren’t used to a less sweet taste. Balance fruit and sweet vegetables (such as carrots) with greens, such as kale, celery, spinach etc. Experiment and see what you like.
- Manage a juice detox carefully. If you usually eat a typical Western diet with processed foods, caffeine, alcohol, wheat, dairy and other animal protein, switching overnight onto an all-juice detox isn’t a good idea. Your 50 trillion cells will go crazy on all that juicy goodness and this will cause not so much “traffic jams” as “crashes” in your body! Rashes, headaches, digestive problems and plain old feeling lousy are just a few things that can put you off detoxing for life. Taking time to prepare for a detox properly makes all the difference.
- Start small and build up. I recommend only a small juice each day until it starts feeling warmer outside. Raw juices in cold weather can leave some people feeling cold and can aggravate digestive and other problems.
Spring is definitely a good time to look at your health and take steps in improving your diet. For more ideas, see my article “Spring into positive action” on tips for starting out on a healthier diet. Enlisting the help of your friendly nutritionist is a good idea too, especially if embarking on your first spring detox.
Wishing you and your cells vibrant good health